Well, we’ll go for the Chevrolet Corvette in this case…

Former Formula 1 race driver Rubes Barrichello has teamed up with Swiss watchmaking shop Artisans de Genève to created a timepiece based on a Rolex chassis. The watch is, of course, inspired by the mechanics of Barrichello’s former F1 cars and has been heavily customized - with plenty of class, that is - to the driver’s personal preference. Oh, and yeah, it’s more expensive than the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Artisans de Genève? I’ve never heard of them…

Literally translating as “the artisans of Geneva,” Artisans de Genève is a Swiss watchmaking shop the specializes in offering custom watches to private customers. In other words, Artisans de Genève is a high-class tuner of the watchmaking industry, because they don’t create their pieces from scratch, but based on a particular model. Of course, there are some cases when a particular piece inside a watch must be replaced with a newly-manufactured one, but most of them are re-worked and redecorated by hand. With that said, let’s have a look at the La Barrichello piece.

Artisans de Genève La Barrichello Design

Now, hardcore Formula 1 fans might ask themselves whether the La Barrichello watch is somehow inspired or developed in collaboration with former driver Rubens Barrichello. The answer is yes, we’re talking about THAT Rubens Barrichello. Nicknamed Rubinho, the Brazilian F1 driver raced between 1993 and 2011, amassing 11 GP wins and 68 podiums under his belt. He drove for Ferrari between 2000 and 2005 as Michael Schumacher’s teammate and still holds the record for most race starts in Formula 1: 322. And apparently, he’s also into expensive watches.

Coming back to the timepiece, you should know that the donor watch was the Rolex Daytona 116520 in steel, fitted with a steel bezel.

The watch uses the Rolex caliber 4130 chronograph, which has been transformed by Artisans de Genève to display a more mechanical style.

Or, how the company puts it, it’s been “skeletonized.” It’s also worth noted that for this particular project, Artisans de Genève reached out and worked with Philippe Narbel and Julien Tixier, two watchmakers from the Vallée de Joux, which is a valley in the Jura Mountains located in the Swiss Canton of Vaud, 30 miles north of Geneva.

The watch’s new bezel was crafted out of ceramic right at Artisans de Genève’s workshop in Switzerland and features the “tachymeter” inscription that’s been painted by hand. For the dial, Ruben Barrichello requested a simple look, so the final choice was matte black that reveals the asymmetrical and beveled skeletonized mechanism. A new rotor was also added to the mix, based on the shape of the Formula 1 cars Rubens Barrichello used to drive. The hand-made rotor is composed of 21-karat gold and was treated with black DLC coating. In addition, the rose gold balance bridge was crafted, beveled, and polished by hand. This piece alone requires around seven hours of work before it can be installed on the watch’s movement.

All in all, 260 hours went into creating the La Barrichello timepiece, which measures 40 millimeters in diameter, is water-resistant up to 100 meters, and features a transparent sapphire back.
The Artisans de Genève La Barrichello Watch Costs More Than a 2020 Chevy C8 Corvette
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Here comes the deal-breaker, though. The watch is priced at $77,250, according to Uncrate. Moreover, according to the Artisans de Genève official website, the watch will be made “in a very limited capacity,” although we’re not told exactly how many units will reach customers.

Base piece Rolex 116505
Hours of work 260
Diameter 40 mm
Hands painted by hand
Bezel ceramic
Case everose gold
Movement skeletonized Rolex 4130
Rotor 21 karat gold
Waterproofing up to 100 m
Back transparent sapphire
Power reserve 72 h
Frequency 28,800 vph
What do you think?
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